Going ballistic

FLINT TWP. — Dangerous situations ranging from a homicide suspect armed and barricaded at a Flint motel in 2011 to a shootout on Casaloma Drive in 2012 are when the township police Incident Response Team (IRT) is called to the scene.

Suiting up includes wearing headgear for protection from anything from flying bullets to thrown objects. Currently some members of the IRT are wearing helmets that are almost 15 years old, said Police Chief George Sippert in a request to the township board to purchase eight new ballistic helmets. The helmets have a recommended service life of ten years, he said.

“With the technological advancement and improved specifications, new ballistic helmets greatly enhance the survivability of our police officers as they conduct their operations,’’ he said.

The township board unanimously approved his request to spend $4,780 to buy new helmets from Elite Defense in Chelsea, the low bidder. The cost will be covered by funds available from the 2014 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) which the department receives annually to help pay for needed crime prevention items including gear.

Quotes also were submitted by CMP of Lansing and Atlantic Signal of Topeka, Kansas.

The new helmets are a significant upgrade from those currently being used, Chief Sippert said. The cost of $597.53 each includes a helmet rail kit that allows officers to attach different pieces of equipment to the helmet. A ”Wendy’’ retention system and padding will allow officers to wear the helmet comfortably for longer periods of time. Team members rated the helmets the most comfortable of those tested, Chief Sippert said.

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